written by Maja Waern, an ecology student from Lund university, Sweden, who came to Greifswald to do an intership at the Institute of Botany.
The Institute of Botany, Greifswald University, Germany, operates since 2010 together with other universities and organizations the project “Paludiculture”. I have fulfilled an internship at the Institute of Botany within the project “Vorpommern Initiative Paludiculture” (VIP).
Homepage of the project: http://www.paludiculture.com/
In Europe most peatlands have been drained, which has caused loss of biodiversity and the release of large amounts of greenhouse gases. The aim of the project is to rewet drained peatlands; in order to achieve:
I have worked closely with Phd-students, whose main research area is to analyze the vegetation, biomass, soil, water properties, growth rate, of different peatland regions in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern area in north east Germany. Mainly I have been working in the field harvesting biomass from the peatlands, generally Phragmites australis, Typha latifolia and Phalaris arundinacea.
The biomass was harvested for two reasons. Either for laboratory analyzes to determine the chemical properties of the biomass. The other harvested biomass was sent to a combustion central to achieve data of the biomass’ capability to function as biofuel. I also visited the different peatlands to measure the water levels and the electrical conductivity of the sites. After collecting biomass from the field I worked in the laboratory to prepare and analyze the samples. When the values were determined I worked with making graphs of the result data.
My tasks also included to translate the VIP brochure to Swedish, and to translate parts of the website from German to English.
The entire internship ran very smoothly, concerning logistic and economic aspects. It did not take long to get organized, the very first day I met many of my colleagues and I received both key and an office space. My tasks were clear from the start, as the Phd-Students were in the need of help for both field and laboratory work. I received the scholarship relatively fast after I had started the internship. I always had colleagues to talk with if there was something unclear concerning my tasks. Often, it was possible for me to decide where I would work, in the office, laboratory or in the field. In the beginning of the internship I also attended some lectures at the university, to get an understanding what the Landscape ecologists study at the institute.
The institute offered me help to find an apartment, although I did not need it because I already had an apartment before my arrival. If you arriving at the beginning of the semester (beginning of April/end of September), it may be difficult to find an apartment, so you should start to look before arrival, check http://ryckwaerts.de/ and http://www.wg-gesucht.de/.